"Good afternoon, I'm calling from your bank," a melodious but firm female voice sounded on the telephone. "Can you speak now? We have noticed suspicious transactions in your account." Arūnas, 60, was working in his garden at the time and was very surprised - he had never received such calls before, and he only used his account himself, and always very carefully.
But the woman who called said otherwise, claiming that it looked like his account had been snatched by miscreants. Because of that, Arūnas might not only lose his money, but also attract the suspicion of law enforcement officers.
"What am I going to do?", a bunch of throughts started swirling in his head. "Will I be treated like a criminal, though I haven't even logged into my account and my latest transfer was made last week? I bought a few items from an online shop and paid by a payment card. Maybe it has something to do with it? What a hell."
The woman was trying to calm him down and suggested, according to her, a preventive solution. If Arūnas told her his login code and PINs, she would log into his account and check the data.
Arūnas rushed to the house for glasses and a password generator.
For a slight moment, the thought crossed my mind: was it good to be so open with a stranger? "Maybe it would be better for me to go to the bank's branch? It looks somehow insecure," he hesitated.
The woman was not surprised at all. "Exactly, insecure. That is why we try to be flexible and take care of our customers ourselves. It will not even take us five minutes, and the peace of mind will be guaranteed for a long time. I will only need logins and no other confidential information," she explained.
"Dictate, please... 5457... Yes, well, I can see what has happened here. Some strange money transfer to China, I will block it now. Everything is all right. We will still need a second confirmation from you to complete the verification, please tell us your PIN. Thank you, and a second one", the woman instructed.
Arūnas provided all the requested data and dictated the login codes from the generator several times. The woman thanked him for his cooperation and wished him a good day. Arūnas went back to work.
A couple of days later, the man switched on his computer to pay some utility bills. To his surprise, his bank account, which he knew had a balance of €4,000 just a week ago, was now empty.
Arūnas was contemplating feverishly as to where his money could had gone. After all, he had not bought anything expensive and had not set up any automatic transfers. And then he remembered the conversation with the woman who had introduced herself as the bank manager. He found her number on his phone and called it, but the number was switched off. This fact aroused even more suspicions for the man.
Arūnas found his bank's customer helpline short number online. After hearing his story, the bank's employee advised him to check the outgoing payments section in his Internet bank. There, Arūnas saw several transfers that had been made a couple of days earlier to the accounts of unknown persons abroad. From his own bank account! Both the bank and police launched an investigation into the situation. It is not easy to predict what the outcome will be, as Arūnas has formally confirmed the payment orders himself.
According to Eivilė Čipkutė, President of the Association of Lithuanian Banks, this story based on real facts reveals that the success of telephone scams is usually linked to emotional pressure. The scammer, who claimed to be the bank manager, spoke with confidence and assurance, threatened the person with a danger that had come out of nowhere and was giving seemingly logical advice. Caught in an everyday situation, the man lost his guard.
The main thing to remember is that no employee of any financial institution, official of any authority or any officer will ever ask for your bank account number or login details. Giving your login codes to a stranger is like giving your home keys to a curious passer-by and indicating your address.
If you receive any suspicious calls, the advice is not to get involved, but put down the phone and call the office or institution of which the contact person claims to be a representative by finding the number in the official website.
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